URBANA–Insights into changes in value-enhanced corn and soybean
production in Illinois, as well as farmer opinion on a variety of
related issues, are contained in a report recently released by the
University of Illinois. "Value-Enhanced Corn and Soybean Production
in Illinois" was produced by the U of I's Value Project.
"Since the Value Project was started three years ago, there have
been dramatic changes in Illinois agriculture, including a
significant increase in the production and marketing of
value-enhanced corn and soybeans," said Burt Swanson, U of I
professor of agricultural and consumer economics and director of the
Value Project, which is funded by the Illinois Council on Food and
Agricultural Research (C-FAR).
"The GMO issue has brought increasing attention to identity
preservation methods for non-GMO corn and soybeans. At the same
time, demand for many other types of value-enhanced grain continues
to grow, opening up new opportunities for Illinois farmers. This
report helps to identify factors that Illinois producers should
consider as they seek to capture more value from different types of
Surveys of Illinois farmers indicate that 7,000 farmers have
started producing value-enhanced crops since 1998, making the total
number of producers 16,800, and acreage has expanded per average
farmer from 200 acres to 400 acres during that period.
"About two-thirds of the 16,800 farmers reported that
value-enhanced crops had increased their farm income by an average
of 12.5 percent," said Swanson. "It is estimated that Illinois
farmers received a total of about $32 million in additional farm
income during 1999 and 2000 from growing value-enhanced corn and
The report identifies markets for value-enhanced corn and
soybeans as well as farmers' experiences and interests in these
crops. Differences between specialty crop and non-specialty crop
producers are also revealed.
Locations of market and production areas for high oil corn, non-GMO
corn, white and yellow food-grade corn, waxy corn, high-extractable
starch corn, non-GMO soybeans, STS (registered trademark), and clear
hilum, food-grade soybeans are listed in the report.
"The report also discusses factors affecting value-added
strategies," said Swanson. "These include increasing competition in
global markets, the importance of transportation in affecting
comparative advantage, the changing structure of grain
merchandising, identification of areas of comparative advantage, and
producer motivation for growing a specialty crop.
"Producers considering adding value-enhanced production should
consider factors like marketing, processing, and marketing
alliances–all covered in the report."
Joining Swanson as coauthors of the report were Andrew J.
Sofranko, a U of I professor of rural sociology; Mohamed M. Samy,
lead analyst in the Value Project; Emerson Nafziger, a U of I
professor of crop sciences; and Darrel Good, a U of I professor of
agricultural marketing and interim head of the Department of
Agricultural and Consumer Economics.